BY TRONE DOWD
During Community Board 12’s first general meeting since the summer break, chairwoman and City Council contender Adrienne Adams opened by addressing the question of how she would be replaced if she becomes Southeast Queens’ newest council member.
“I was appointed to Community Board 12 in 2009 by council member Tom White and Borough President Helen Marshall,” Adams said. “Since that appointment, I’ve never missed a general board meeting. Welp!”
Adams, who won the Democratic primary to run for the City Council seat in the 28th District earlier this month, is facing off against Green Party candidate Frank Francois in November. Although Adams has not yet officially won the seat, she announced the board’s plans of succession if she is elected.
“My perfect attendance here at Community Board 12 will change next month as the reigns of chairmanship will transfer to our first vice chairman, Rev. Edward McKay,” Adams said. “Board members, officers, executive committee and our wonderful office staff—it has been my distinct honor and privilege to serve as your chairperson for five great, amazing years.”
In the final moments of her opening statements before the meeting’s business session, Adams thanked CB 12 District Manager Yvonne Reddick, calling her “my partner in leadership, my sage and the keeper of the history of every agency in the city of New York.”
“As we open this meeting, but close this chapter, I know we will continue to move forward with conscious goals, determination and dedication to this awesome board,” she said.
During the meeting, the board also discussed topics pertaining to education and development.
Education Chairwoman Joan Flowers told constituents about the proposal for a transfer school within the confines of CB 12. The committee recently met with New Dawn Charter School’s staff.
“They would be providing services to 15- to 21-year-old failing students,” Flowers said. “Students would do an internship, along with their regular curriculum, as to hone their work and home experience.”
Flowers said that New Dawn is looking for a standalone site and not seeking a building to co-locate. She added that the community should expect to get a full presentation from New Dawn soon. Flowers vouched for the curriculum set up to help students, calling the plan “music to my ears.”
She also pointed out that Mayor Bill de Blasio has fully funded a library for August Martin High School in Jamaica as well as allocated resources needed to flesh out the school’s culinary arts program. August Martin was one of the schools that Community Board 12 took under its wing to help it through various struggles.
Glenn Greenidge, of the board’s economic development committee, told residents at the meeting that a homeless shelter opened up at 140-17 Queens Blvd. over the summer. He also informed attendees that a hotel has been approved for 97-11 Sutphin Blvd.
“The onslaught is still on,” Greenidge said. “We have to be vigilant in protecting our community.”
Community Board 12 has fought supportive housing in the community for years and the topic was one on which Adams and her opponents in the Democratic primary ran their campaigns during the summer.
Greenidge also said that the Archer-Merrick Apartment lottery is officially open. The building, which would be located at the current unused parking lot at 92-61 165th St., will feature on-site laundry, an outdoor courtyard, recreation room and bicycle parking space. Those interested should visit nyc.gov/housingconnect. Greenidge said that there will be 80 apartments up for grabs at the site. The deadline is Oct. 16.
Board member James Heyliger said that he has been working alongside Greenidge to help guide the rapid development of John F. Kennedy International Airport. Their goal is to ensure that its $10 billion investment from the state benefits the community first.
“What we are looking at is creating a community benefits agreement,” Greenidge said. “We are in conversations with some of the folks that can help that happen.”
The community benefits agreement is a contract that minority communities in other parts of the country—such as Atlanta and Los Angeles—have in place to create opportunities and ensure safety for those living nearby. Greenidge specified job creation and availability as the board’s main focus.
“I had the economic development team look at the [Los Angeles International Airport] community benefits agreement as an example of what we can do here at JFK,” he said. “We’d like CB 12 to create a resolution to help sustain this plan.”
The board unanimously voted in favor of creating the plan in the coming months. Adams said that she was glad to see the board in agreement on the proposal.
“It is critical that we realize the power that we’ve always had, but just don’t use as a collective people of color,” Adams said.